Get your business on the road to success with our guide to writing a business plan. Learn what it is, why it’s important and how to use your plan to reap your business rewards.
Just as a map can make or break your road trip, a business plan can be the key to your business’ success. Like a roadmap for your business, a business plan will help you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, helping you target your time and energy to grow your brand in the right direction.
A must-have for any small business and emerging brand, we’ve got the low-down on how to write a business plan and just how it can be the secret to your success!
The top 3 reasons your brand needs a business plan…
FINANCE: Securing financial backing is a pretty major part of every small business. Whether you’re applying for bank loans or are on the hunt for investors, having a business plan to present is an absolute must. This will show potential backers that you mean business and you’ve done your research, it will help them understand what you want to achieve and will also document your projected profits and income.
DEFINES YOUR BUSINESS: Think of a business plan as a sort of elevator pitch for your business. Having a well-executed plan requires you to have a clear understanding of what your business is, what it offers, and where it sits in the market. This helps to keep you grounded, focused, and working towards your goals.
DRIVES GROWTH: Any good business plan requires a thorough understanding of the industry, competitors, challenges, and financial demands. Competed a business plan is a great way of ensuring you’ve got your bases covered and you know what you’re doing.
How do I write my business plan?
When it comes to writing your business plan, there’s a standardised format that you should follow. Feel free to spice things up with beautiful imagery as relevant to your brand, but keep in mind that business plans are shared with official parties, so the language, layout and formatting should be clear and professional.
Think of this as the first impression of your business. This is the first official document new staff, collaborators and potential backers will see from your company. Make sure everything here is simple, easy to read and accurate. Always include your logo, your business name and address, your name and position (e.g. Owner, Manager, Creative Director) and your ABN and ACN if relevant. The following few pages should also include a table of contents.
This is a one-page summary of your business and can include your mission statement. This is often the hardest part of any business plan as it requires you to clearly and concisely define what your business is. We’d recommend doing this last, after all your research and analysis is complete!
THE HARD FACTS
The hard facts or “about your business” page should include all the pragmatic information regarding your company. This can cover your business structure, staff, premises, stock list and any registrations as necessary.
A market analysis covers your audience and your competitors. It should contain an overview of the industry you’re entering and what your position within this industry is. You should outline your goals and targets for growing within this industry and what strategies you’ll use to meet them.
It can be a good idea to include a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) in this section, as a comprehensive infographic about your company’s profile.
One of the most important elements of any business plan. Your financial statement will help you secure funding and investment for your growing brand. This section should include information on how your business is (or will be) financed, what your costings are and any financial projections. If your business is just starting out, chances are these figures are expected numbers rather than actual earnings. These are fine to include as long as your clearly note them as projections and estimates!
Another selling point for potential backers is a clear plan for the future. People want to know where your business is going and where you see it progressing a few years down the track. Always include a vision statement in your business plan, making note of your goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.
NEED A LITTLE HELP?
Australian businesses should head to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to find detailed information on Australian-specific business plans. You’ll find specific guidelines for registering a business, financial statements and protecting intellectual property. There’s also easy-to-download templates to help you complete your business plan!